18 June, 2021

The Family Boar

A woman in love with a wild boar? Unable to cope with forcible separation? This is not mythology, but a signifier of the Adivasi credo of life.

The Family Boar

She didn’t squeal like a stuck pig but really got sick when her dear Dhud was taken away. The next few days, a near-delirious Kuntala Kumari Penthei scoured the jungle, calling him aloud. Dhud was found a week after the separation. She gave him rice and he ate hastily, with snorts of contented approval. They walked back home, though Dhud was limping. The reunion was like a pig in clover for both—a tribal woman of Purushottampur village in Odisha’s Keonjhar district and the pet wild boar she raised after finding him abandoned in the forest two years ago when she had gone for firewood.

Kuntala named him Dhud and became his foster mother. She cared for him like her children, feeding him rice, lentils and vegetables. With plentiful love and aff­ection, he ­became a member of the Penthei household. But this came to an abrupt end on March 11 when forest department ­officials forcibly took away Dhud since the wildlife ­protection law doesn’t allow anybody to keep a Schedule-III animal as a pet. Kuntala pleaded with them, but they would have...

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